How to Get Supermodel Hair Without Styling


I typically am not one to succumb to the unrealistic beauty expectations provided by the media and models. But there is one aspect of inhuman supermodel beauty that I simply can’t help but pine for — the hair! My straight, thin, and dreary hair longs for Gisele-level beachy waves or Chanel‘s thick and healthy locks.

I’ve watched an unhealthy amount of YouTube videos on the how-tos of Victoria’s Secret runway curls or perfecting a DIY blow out. While they’ve been entertaining to watch and have momentarily given me hope, eventually my curls flatten and my blowout looks uninspired, to say the least. I’m not a great self-styler, no matter how many YouTube videos I watch or how many hairstyles I try.

Luckily for me, and for others who are stylistically-challenged, supermodels don’t solely depend on their celebrity stylists for a good head of hair. Much more work and strategy goes into that perfect hair beyond just in the hair stylist’s chair (yes, even for Gisele and Chanel). Here are the secrets for supermodel hair that don’t have to do with how to style it (no YouTube videos required).

Get your cut right.

Supermodels rarely go for the trendiest, of-the-moment hair cuts. Mid-length cuts with long layers are the preferred style for most supermodels, for the purpose of practicality. It’s the most versatile cut that can be morphed into almost anything for a photoshoot or runway show — braids, updo, a faux bob. But for us mere mortals who (typically) don’t have to think about our job when getting our hair cut, we can take inspiration from the classic cut because it’s timeless, easy to maintain, and flattering on everyone. But if trendy cuts are your calling, or shorter hairstyles are more your thing, the most important secret to supermodel hair is the confidence they have with it. Bottom line: learn the correct vocabulary for the exact style that you want. And then strut your runway walk right out of that salon.

Strategize with coloring.

When it comes to color, getting hair like Victoria’s Secret models’ infamous beachy waves is all about the highlights; specifically, widely spaced highlights that subtly get lighter at the tips. This lightens up your face and adds dimension, making your hair look more voluminous and sun-kissed. If you DIY your color, wipe the formula off each strand slowly and individually, starting at the top and leaving it on an extra minute or two at the ends.

Give your hair a rest.

Yes, not only am I saying you don’t have to style for supermodel hair, but that you shouldn’t style. Heat damage is real, people! Consistently using hot tools causes damage, breakage, and frizziness. Nothing can ruin supermodel hair like frizz! This is actually a crucial part of supermodels’ beauty routines, because their hair is styled so often for shoots that usually whenever they’re not working, they leave the hot tools off and air dry their hair.

Perfect your part.

Believe it or not, where and how you part your hair can make a big difference. Expert hairstylists say the easiest way to find out where your part is most flattering for you is simply to flip your head upside down and back up again (like you’re headbanging at a 1980’s rock concert), and see where your part naturally lays. If you need a more concrete rule of thumb, middle parts typically look more flattering on rounder face shapes, and side parts look better on longer face shapes. However, there are so many exceptions to this rule, so just go for what you think looks best on you. For middle parts, make sure the part is exactly in the middle (right in line with your nose), and the most flattering place for a side part is at the arch of your eyebrow. No matter where your part is, make sure its perfectly straight. Use the handle of a rattail comb for a precise part.

Shower at night instead of morning.

Supermodel hair is all about body and texture. They don’t call it bed head for no reason!  Sleeping on damp hair the correct way builds body that just-showered clean hair cannot offer and interesting texture that cannot be easily recreated with tools. Squirt in dry shampoo for extra volume and bed-headiness, a little serum on ends if your hair is extra thick or course, and voila! you are a supermodel (Well, you’ll look like one. No promises about the actual job.).

Condition first, shampoo second.

In order for hair to be bouncy and full, it has to be totally free of any residue. Conditioner does soften hair, but it also weighs it down (yes, even the “weightless” ones). If you shampoo last, the hair shaft is left a little pumped up for extra volume and it naturally creates a messy texture, while also ridding hair of any residue that could be preventing it from its full bouncy potential. If this dries out your hair too much or leaves it too rough, try putting conditioner on dry hair before your shower (moisture penetrates dry hair better than wet), rinse it out, and then shampoo.

Focus on the product.

The good news is that putting the right products in your hair can take some of the styling work away from you and is pretty much foolproof. Personalize your products for your hair goals. For the volumized, tousled look, add mousse and salt spray to wet hair and texturizing spray or powder when it’s dry. For shiny strands and a look that might fool people into thinking you actually got a blow out, run styling cream through your ends, add a little hair oil, and, if your hair is extra thick or curly, a little more oil to ends when dried. Finish any hair style (sans styling) with dry shampoo for extra volume and bounce.

Make it look “real” and a little imperfect.

This might just be the best news ever… Orlando Pita, hairstylist to the Victoria’s Secret models, aka the living genius behind the best hair in the universe, says that the formula for their styles is all about an effortlessness and achievability. “The appeal is that it’s sexy, but not impossible… it looks real,” he says. I don’t know about you, but “not impossible” is the best news I’ve heard in a long time. What he’s trying to say is that perfect curls or stick straight hair is not “supermodel hair.” The little imperfection, the little bedhead-y messiness that is so crucial to the supermodel aesthetic is easily done but easily forgotten about for the everyday styling. So spray that dry shampoo, mess up your roots a little, and never spend too much time watching hairstyling YouTube videos.

How do achieve supermodel-like hair perfection? What is the best hair advice you’ve ever received?